Josh Hickman runs into Bike & Build participants every year at his church. They'd stop, eat and take off early in the morning, continuing their coast-to-coast charity ride.
Hickman was at the church this year as well, but he hadn't driven there from his house. He biked there from Yorktown, Virginia — a distance of more than 1,000 miles.
Bike & Build raises money for affordable housing. Bikers raise donations before the ride then ride a set distance, either halfway or fully across country, to raise awareness for the cause.
The group arrived at First Presbyterian Church in Jefferson City on Sunday afternoon.
Hickman said the experience, while rewarding, is strenuous.
"There were some difficult parts. It's not a physical thing," he said. "Physically, I know I could handle whatever comes at me. It's more of a mental thing."
One of the mental things, Hickman said, was the lodging. The group often arrives late and leaves early.
"We're not here for that long. We're packing up and moving from place to place so quickly that you don't really have time to settle down and have time for yourself," he said.
The stops, besides giving the group lodging for the night, also give Hickman one thing he craves — warm food.
"Being able to eat something warm instead of, like, cold cereal or warm cereal or whatever we have in our coolers at the end of the day, is a nice little change-up," he said.
Regardless, Hickman said the experience, overall, was extraordinary. He said last week the group had just got done riding through a beautiful day with clear skies.
"There's been some days that I've been like 'why am I doing this?'" he said. "But then you have days like today."
He also said he loved "just being able to see what the money I raised and the money that other people raised is going toward."
Riding into Missouri was surreal for Hickman.
"It's kind of just crazy, getting back onto the Katy Trail. That's one of the places I've ridden tons of miles on," he said. "It's really raised morale up, just knowing I'm getting closer to home — instead of just knowing the street name and what mile to turn."
The group's arrival in Jefferson City will be about one-third of the way through their cross-country trek.
When the group wakes up Monday morning, they'll continue on to Cannon Beach, Oregon — only around 2,000 miles away.